Susan Yeley Homes
Life is too short not to love your home.


Marble-ish / 4193 update

So 4193 came to town! We got to meet over countertop samples and Perrier (ooh lah lah) at Rake Solutions for a couple hours. She's got a great eye (she's been in the design business herself! go figure) and is really working hard to balance creating a space she loves with beautiful materials and the fact that it's a relatively modest second home. It's a tough question, and a place I often arrive with clients:

Client: I just can't spend as much as it costs to get X, beautiful as it is.

SYI: I totally understand. You could try Y. It's got similar lines and will achieve the same effect in the design.

Client:  Huh. Y is pretty lovely.  But it's not as comfortable / durable / sustainable / enduring.

SYI: True. That's why X costs more.

At which point, the client has to do a gut check. How much is this going to affect my day to day life and happiness in this space, versus how much is another $1000 going to affect my budget? 

4193 arrived at this place regarding countertops. 

Remember, we were here:

Remember this gorgeous kitchen 4193 loved, by Ammor Architects?  

I researched a bit more and found this:

which 4193 and I both loved for its rustic sophistication, white countertops and island, and contrasting dark stools: filling in some of the details of the picture for 4193's remodel.  

To recap: 4193's first go at a scheme for her kitchen was java-stained cabinets, bronz Color quartz countertops, brown and slate linear backsplash tile, and Olympic Oyster Shell (beige) paint with a couple of other muddy (in the best sense of the word) browns.  The floor was a light maple.

My work for 4193 is just a kitchen materials consult (around $500), so I don't have a floor plan to share with you, except the sketch I made during my site visit.

By the end of our meeting we were here: java-stained cabinets inside the U-shaped kitchen footprint; white paneling (Benjamin Moore Classic Gray actually) around the outside of the bar; and wall colors that go more gray than brown - Benjamin Moore Thunder and, for a pow 4193 loves, Deep Space.  Importantly, we switched from bronze to white countertops.

4913 is not a speckled, sparkly or solid kind of person, however (when it comes to countertops).

Beautiful solid white countertops in a kitchen by Green Apple Design, where the movement and interest comes from the omg-gorgeous backsplash, accessories, and graining in the floor. Photo courtesy Solomon Building Group

She's into movement and a little eclecticism—breaking up a sleek stretch with some, you know, veins.

Another beautiful kitchen with white countertops, but these have a marble movement that complements the stainless shelves and all-white accessories.  Photo courtesy Taste Interior Design.

Who doesn't love some marble? (Okay, some people don't love marble. And sometimes solid is better, like in the Green Apple photo above (objectively gorgeous). But 4193 (and I) love marble.) Still, it has its issues in a kitchen. And, well, there's the price point: Ahem.

But, lucky 4193, there are quartz marble lookalikes that are gorgeous! Cambria Torquay and Ceasarstone Misty Carrera and Silestone Lagoon. Beautiful. Less maintenance than real marble. Still, not inexpensive. 

But, even luckier, did you know you can get a marble-ish Corian too! It's called Rain Cloud, and it's pretty stunning. Warmer to the touch (you may or may not like that) and admittedly less durable than quartz, but scratches are easily buffed out. You get some pretty convincing veining for only about $68/sq ft.

Corian or Quartz marble look-alikes have patterns that are repeated every so often.   You have to look at overall pictures like this in addition to real-life samples to get a sense of the material.  (Even better: see an installation in person.  Which your local countertop company may well be able to set up for you.  We love Rake Solutions.  They give you Perrier.) Photo courtesy DuPont

So that's where we are.  Actually, 4193 liked the warmer version of the Corian: Clamshell.  Lovely, just not so bright white as Rain Cloud.  Picture with  me: Clamshell countertops, walnut floors and a linear marble backsplash with a very light gray grout to pick up the veining in the countertop. 

Photo courtesy Jeffrey Court.

What would you do? Spring for the extra $$ for the quartz, knowing it's a drop in the bucket in the overall budget and you'll get maximum durability and love the look? Or chip away at the budget a bit and get the Corian version, loving the look but living with a slightly less than ideal material?  It's a toughie.

Meanwhile, we're here:

The walls and carpet are history! 4193's feeling the pressure to make the call. Isn't that one of the hardest things about renovations? When you finally have to stop dreaming all the gorgeous possibilities and pick one.